Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League sees in-form Everton take on underwhelming Crystal Palace, as two sides currently undergoing very diverse returns in terms of fortunes face off in Merseyside.
Premier League 2019/2020 season
Date: Saturday 8th, February
Venue: Goodison Park
TV Channel: BT Sport
Much has been said about Everton having grown in leaps and bounds since the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, and after the stunning 3-2 comeback victory over Watford last time out, the rest of the division had sat up and taken notice.
The Italian have got the Tofees kicking once again after a tough mid-season and are now unbeaten in their last four league games (W2, D2) as they continue to push further up the standings.
Despite losing Fabian Delph to a red at Vicarage Road, Yerry Mina struck twice in an entertaining first half to cancel out goals from Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra before Theo Walcott’s stoppage time effort gave Everton their ninth win of the league season.
Crystal Palace on their part are struggling at a crucial stage of the campaign, and their 1-0 loss to Sheffield United last Saturday extended their winless streak to six in the top flight, a run which has seen them drop to 14th on the standings and are now a far cry from the promise of the early season.
Just three points separates them from their opposition coming into this one however, but there is a glaring lack of firepower upfront for the Eagles: only once have the visitors managed to score more than once in their last six in the division, and even that was a stoppage own-goal when Fernandinho diverted into his goal to bring scores to 2-2 on match week 23.
Everton are unbeaten in their last ten Premier League games against Crystal Palace, so it is damning the task Roy Hodgson and his side have at hand.
Delph is suspended for his red versus Watford. André Gomes is still classed as unavailable while Jean-Philippe Gbamin misses out with injury.
Cenk Tosun, Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp are the only missing players for Palace.
Head to Head
This will be the 50th competitive meeting between these two sides, Everyone with a larger amount of the wins (20) to Palace’s 11. 18 games have been drawn.
Everton are unbeaten in nine of their last ten Premier League games.
Crystal Palace have not scored in all of their last three league games against Everton.
Everton have been in stunning form in recent weeks, and their resolute display to beat Watford last weekend underlined the reforms that are fast taking place at Goodison Park. Everton’s last five league games (LWDDW)
Back-to-back losses have seen Crystal Palace drop into the bottom half of the table, with the defeats coming off the back of draws to Arsenal and Manchester City. Palace’s last five league games (DDDLL)
Surely, this can be a tough one to call, as Crystal Palace will be intent on putting right a lot of things with their fortunes seemingly on a downward spiral. On the road, they have contained their opponents for as long as they can, having let in just a solitary goal before the break in their last seven away league matches. Though Everton have been the team to beat in recent weeks, I feel a share of the spoils is a right tick for this game at 14/5, or could an ‘upset’ be on the cards in Merseyside?